Bridging generations, Cherry Creek students act as volunteer “geek squad” for retirement community

by Meg Wingerter (mwingerter@denverpost.com). This article originally appeared on The Denver Post.

CENTENNIAL, CO – NOVEMBER 16: Elizabeth Lapporte, 18, right, helps Sue Sherman, 76, to sync her smartphone and computer at Holly Creek Retirement Community on Saturday. November 16, 2019. Non-profit Generation Technology connects students to help senior citizens. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Every Saturday, a sort of “geek squad” sets up shop at a Centennial retirement community to help residents stream, surf and connect.

Unlike professional troubleshooters, however, the members of this tech-support team are supposed to linger to catch up on whatever happened during the week, and they know their repeat customers’ names and stories.

Zachary Wang and Simar Chadha, both seniors at Cherry Creek High School, started Generation Tech in December 2018, after Wang saw a need while volunteering with an adult day program. More than 50 students volunteer on Saturdays at Holly Creek Living, teaching residents to use their devices and hopefully making connections.

“It might start with the technology, but we want to really get to know the residents,” Wang said.

Intergenerational programs can be challenging to start and sustain because of a lack of government and philanthropic funding, but advocates think they could take off in the Denver area.

 

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.